You will need an international driving permit to drive in Japan.
Japan drives on the left and the roads are generally well maintained and according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office most rules are similar to the UK though they do make the point to watch out for pedestrians crossing roads when the cars are on green lights for example.
You may experience difficulty finding a car with a manual gearbox as there is a strong preference towards automatics in the Japan hire market.
Winter tyres can often be requested as an additional cost option during winter (December to March) months.
Although most car hire comes with Collision Damage Waivers with excesses around the £1,000 mark, Theft Waivers are sometimes not provided leaving you responsible for the full value of the car in the event that it is stolen. If this is the case, a worldwide policy with CDW insurance should give you the cover you need.
Japan has a compulsory level of third party insurance (Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance), but it only covers personal injury not property damage. The legal minimum is JPY 30 million (approx £180,000). As third party property damage is not compulsory it is worth checking what cover your car hire package provides. It is not unusual for third party property damage cover to have an excess. Do note, as an excess to third party liability this will not normally be covered under a standard car hire excess policy, you will need a Supplementary Liability Insurance policy for that.
Supplementary Liability Insurance policies can be used to top up any locally provided insurance to US $1 million but many are restricted to the USA/Canada so make sure the SLI section of the policy is valid worldwide.
Whether you simply need to cover an excess, the whole value of the car or need additional third party liability cover, MoneyMaxim can help you compare car hire insurance and find the best policy for you.
This content was last reviewed on 09/11/2021